Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room #11: Padding the Arms

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by MarkTheFiddler posted 01-31-2014 04:11 AM 1210 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Shaping the Arms Part 11 of Upholstering 2 Chairs For My Living Room series Part 12: The Inside Arms »


The chair arms have been formed into a nice rolled shape and they are ready to accept padding. This will be fun and it’s easier than you may be thinking. It is certainly less exacting than most would expect. Lets get started.

There are 3 major products you can use to pad the arms of a chair. Foam, Cotton or Dacron Polyester.

Foam, 1 to 2 inches thick usually. It Gives a nice uniform shape. but it can be compressed to nothing. When Foam begins to deteriorate, it turns to dust. It’s as bad as saw dust and worse for you to breath. I wouldn’t worry though, foam will probably last through the next 2 upholstery jobs if it’s decent quality.

Cotton, This is the old stand by. It’s been around for years and it holds it’s shape amazingly well. It’s also very easy to work with. When upholstery cotton is milled, you would be surprised how little refinement it gets. That being the case, there are sometimes little twigs in the courser grades. Those little inconsistencies in the texture can show through thinner material. Get it wet and – oh man oh man – It gives off a really musty smell and it takes forever to dry.

Dacron, Does a really good job of shaping and forming your padding but you need a lot to pad an arm well. It’s too expensive to try use Dacron exclusively. By the way – this is a solid roll of Dacron – not a bag of fiber fill.

I usually use foam or cotton, with a layer of Dacron on top. It’s just my preference for appearance and keeping it’s shape.

Now that I gave an intro, I’ll start on the how to do it post next. ;)

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

4 comments so far

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2244 days

#1 posted 01-31-2014 04:45 AM

I tore just enough cotton off the roll to warp around the arm. I positioned my first layer of foam to sit just back of my edge roll.

There is not enough to tuck it under the arm and there is not enough to staple it to the roll on the outside arm. I positioned my first layer of foam to sit just back of my edge roll.

I tucked the cotton into the slot between the arms and the back and I have a little bit of bulk to manage at the top and back of the arm.

Before I ripped that hunk off, I went around the side and fitted the cotton along side the back.

Good, Let’s get another layer. This time a little longer. I lay the cotton on the arm exactly like before with one difference. This time I overlapped the edge roll in the front by about 1.2 inch or less.

We are ready for the final layer of padding. This time, it’s a layer of Dacron. We need to cut it long enough so we CAN tuck it under the bottom of the arm and staple it up and over the curve.

Head around to the back of the arm and put one staple as high up the support rail as you can.

Now you can add a line of staple all the way to the front.

As a reminder, there are two layers of cotton under that Dacron, I made sure that my staple did NOT catch any of the cotton. Dacron will compress flat when I put a staple through it. Cotton will leave a lump. You don’t really want to learn how to work with cotton so much that you will need to worry about lumps at the staple site. It you just catch the Dacron with the staples, the rest of your work will be much easier.

I left the back of the arm padding loose. You’ll see why when we add the fabric.

I tuck the Dacron down under the arm by the chair seat and into the slot at the back of the arm.

In the picture above, my hand is pointing to an area we don’t really want to bulk up. The Dacron was cut away from that section intentionally.

As for the front of the arms, I just staple it down around the edge as close to the edge as possible. Once again, I made sure I didn’t catch the under layers of cotton with the staples.

Here’s a sneak peek at the next blog entry.

I’ll continue SOON. Have and a great evening!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2328 days

#2 posted 01-31-2014 04:19 PM you’re cookin’ with P-Nut Oil, startin’ to look real comfortable.

Great Blog Mark.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2244 days

#3 posted 01-31-2014 11:19 PM

Thanks Len!

Sometimes I wonder. If I didn’t have any typo’s – would I have have any content at all? The answer is YES. I’d have grammatical mistakes.

There is one typo that is really bad. On top of that – I used horrendous grammar.
“This time I overlapped the edge roll in the front by about 1.2 inch or less”
Change 1.2 to 1/2. ;)

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View sras's profile


4826 posts in 3184 days

#4 posted 02-01-2014 12:16 AM

This is really great Mark!

(FYI – you can go back and edit your original posts, but not the comments. Instead of adding comment for the detail you could edit the post. Either way works – just a style choice)

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics